Free Spirits: Why do they create such shivering fear?



I wish I knew, for I am, and long have been, a free spirit myself.  Sad to relate, being an individualist, gaining the label ‘eccentric’, behaving and thinking outside the rigid and confining box of societal expectations have all come to be associated with madness, misfits, nutters.

It really does seem sometimes as if there is only the one narrow path for humans to walk down: A path which has sign posts (in tasteful and conventional colours/designs) every few yards, instructing the traveller on the correct way of walking, dressing, thinking, talking…

We call others mad when they stride off the path or opt for another one entirely. We nudge one another and whisper, ‘Bonkers!’ when someone is seen dressed in a colourful, unusual way. We screw our forefingers into the sides of our heads (in the ancient symbol for Round the Twist) at those who dance under Full Moons or seek, through ritual, to attune with, and celebrate, the phases of Sun, or Moon, or the seasons, or do anything we are too scared and inhibited to do ourselves.

We use the phrase ‘You/he/she must be mad to…’ so glibly, and so utterly without thought, that it and its fellow phrases have become almost synonymous with, ‘I don’t like the way you live your life…’

Wear electric pink DMS at the age of fifty-eight? Loony-tunes!

Write openly about sex, feelings, cruelty, being a member of an SOL Lodge? Clearly crazed!

Go out at night in search of a Full Moon, musical gig, or early in the morning to a Festival? Barking mad!

It is so tragic. This kind of thinking, I mean. We only pass this way once (though we pass other ways often) – and yet we limit our precious life experiences because we are so afraid of being seen as weird, gaga, cuckoo, moon-calves. So we spend pointless years adopting convention’s tightest corset, and sexuality’s self-imposed Chastity Belt in order not to be pointed at, threatened with Sectioning, labelled as well on the way to Dagenham.

Free spirits should be applauded and welcomed. They have much to offer to the world. We are so afraid of them, I think, because they soar and fly to places we would, secretly, love to visit. I think our condemnation is, in part at least, deep envy. But also we fear them because we have all been brought up with the spectres of gibbering insanity held before us – and we have come to equate those who choose to be wild of spirit with those poor unfortunates who have genuinely lost the ability to work  the mind in a healthy way.

How is it that we have come to equate expressing oneself in an individual way with lunacy? Because we do not like anything that is different – and because, in too many cases, we are afraid of the insanity which might, just might, be lurking within our own genetic make-up, and projecting that crazy gene onto colourful others reassures us that we are normal!

Eccentricity and freedom of spirit are both conscious life choices. Insanity is outside the poor afflicted one’s control. I think it would do the world as a whole good to remember that important distinction and stop tarring those who are different with the brush of an illness people do not choose to have.

Insanity is NOT freedom of spirit, especially for those poor souls who have to be Sectioned for their own or other people’s safety – and living a life in tune with one’s own spirit and personality does NOT indicate that the men with the white coats and padded cells should be on permanent stand-by!

So, shiver with fear when you see me and my ilk, if you wish! I’d rather shiver with ecstasy, and wild wind, and the Moon’s sexy pull myself!


6 thoughts on “Free Spirits: Why do they create such shivering fear?

  1. Totally identify with your piece Ali, I was mercillously bullied for being ” different” whist being a child, nay, even as a young adult in Sixth Form. On a geology residential field trip I remember being ostracised from the other young men for rejoicing Abba had got to number one. I was not allowed to like Abba, was called a weirdo, a queer and freak for not liking what they all liked. ( Of course now they are now acceptable, iconic even…!,), I refused to go with the herd. We were 17 and 18 year olds and I’d hoped and prayed that life in the Sixth Form would provide some relief from being bullied for being different. I was very wrong. On the same field trip I even dared to talk about UFO’s and the paranormal and of one experience in particular. A few hours later this resulted in me walking in to the kitchen to sniggers and knowing winks and stifled laughter; obviously I was the butt of the joke but didn’t know what until I retired to bed. My sleeping bag was not there. Where was it? One of the kinder girls suggested I look at the big pond outside. Spanning the pond was a line for used as a zip wire and dead centre over the pond my sleeping bag hung suspended! What followed was marvellous entertainment as Dean endeavoured to retrieve my sleeping bag; my attempts to retrieve it by boat was accompanied by a cacophony of jeers and taunts and stones being thrown. How adult they were….!
    So Ali, yes, being different takes courage. Why must you shut up about your beliefs/ opinions to ” keep the peace”? Why must we all wear the same clothing and behave as a herd. Safety, I suppose. Yes, it’s nice to have things in common with others but also, why not celebrate our differences? We are NOT insane, insanity lies with going against one’s nature, of presenting a charade to the world….Yes Ali, free spirits should be applauded and welcomed lest we homogenise in to a bland meld of a George Orwellian dystopia…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This made me furiously protective on your behalf, Dean. I wish I could travel back to that field trip, and those bullies, and suspend them over the pond, preferably by the neck. Real nasty ‘Lord of the Flies’ type stuff. Wonderful final sentence: I couldn’t have put it better – actually couldn’t have put it nearly so well! – myself. No, we are not insane. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie

    You know the answer:: ENVY.

    Now get your revenge and make it clear you are NOT envious of conformity by flaunting your eccentric side at any opportunity.
    It will feel cathartic !

    Liked by 1 person

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